Everyone has a favourite myth about hair care – and we usually never
let the truth get in the way of a good legend! This article examines some of
the most widely known - and the reality behind the myths.
1. Excessive washing of hair causes hair loss/dryness.
FALSE: Frequency of washing doesn’t harm hair. Wash it as often as you
like, although the recommendation is three times a week. The right shampoo
for your hair type and texture will actually add moisture, body and beauty
to your hair.
2. More shampoo = cleaner hair.
FALSE: Don’t waste your shampoo! A dollop of quality
shampoo, about the size of a quarter is usually enough for long hair.
Very long hair may take a little more.
3. Conditioner helps repair split ends.
FALSE: No conditioner can "repair" damaged hair. What it can do is smooth
down the cuticle and make hair seem in better condition. A good conditioner can
also prevent damage from occurring in the first place.
4. Blow-drying produces hair loss.
FALSE: Blow-drying can damage, burn or dry hair, which can cause it to fall,
but the hair will grow back immediately. This is not permanent hair loss.
5. Sleeping with wet hair causes scalp fungus.
FALSE: Scalp or fungal diseases can’t be caught from sleeping with wet
scalps. Scalp infections require prior involvement with infected sources such
as humans, tainted hair care tools or animals. Scalp fungus (tinea capitis)
mainly affects children, whose immune systems make them more susceptible to
6. To get your hair to grow, brush 100 strokes each day.
FALSE: Brushing that much can damage the hair cuticle. NOT recommended! Actually,
your hair reacts better to a comb than a brush. Brushing it will only lead
to split ends and hair breakage.
7. Sharing combs and brushes can spread scalp diseases.
TRUE: Lice and other parasites can be transported from scalp to scalp through
the sharing of combs, brushes and other hair care tools.
8. Cutting hair makes it grow faster and/or thicker.
FALSE: This common misconception
comes from the fact that hair is thicker at the base than it is at the
tip, so shorter hair appears thicker at first. Cutting your hair does not affect
its normal biologically determined growth rate or overall texture. Thin,
limp or fine hair will not ever grow thicker in response to a haircut. Plump
up your hair by using volume enhancing hair care products, experimenting
with a hair fattening blunt cut or getting a texturizing perm or color treatment.
9. Color treatment causes hair loss.
FALSE: Most hair coloring products contain chemicals that can do serious harm
to the hair itself if not properly used, but it wont instigate hair loss.
10. Salon products are identical to drugstore products.
FALSE: Although there are exceptions, salon products generally contain higher
quality, more expensive ingredients that are designed to consistently provide
more intensive cleansing, moisturizing and conditioning results. The quality
ingredients found in salon products are not usually found in drugstore brands.
If in doubt – read the labels.
11. Long sun exposure favors hair loss.
FALSE: Your hair acts as a shield against the sun. Hair loss appears at the
follicle level and so the sun would have to penetrate at this depth to do any
12. Diet is related to hair loss.
TRUE: it's important to eat right in order to be generally healthy. However,
no individual food has been proven to be beneficial or detrimental to hair.
13. Stress causes hair loss.
TRUE: Severe stress (e.g. surgery or a death in the family), can shut down
hair production, causing temporary hairloss (alopecia areata). The scalp usually
recuperates, though, and hair grows back
14. Wearing tight braids, ponytails or buns causes baldness.
TRUE: Traction alopecia is a very real hair loss condition that is quite common
amongst older African American women. It results from wearing tight ponytails,
cornrows or buns over an extended period of time. Over time, hair breakage
or loss as the result of tight, stressed styles, can become permanent. Avoid
this potential problem by opting for looser styles that minimize scalp tension.
15. Smoking causes gray hair.
TRUE: According to J. G. Mosley of the Leigh Infirmary in Lancashire, England
in an article in Science News (January 11, 1997) smokers are four times more
likely to have gray hair than non-smokers. Even worse, smoking has been conclusively
linked to accelerated hair loss.
HAIR CARE SUMMARY
Heard another myth about hair? Do your research – ask an expert! This
doesn’t include your grandmother, best friend or local barmaid. Instead,
talk to an experienced hairdresser or a trichologist. Always get the real facts
before you act on any hair myths – you owe it to your hair.
(With thanks to Daniel Mcullough and Karen M. Shelton)